The Celtic Literature Collective

Why Mongán was Deprived of Issue
Yellow Book of Lecan
col. 800

Eochu Rígéigeas, chief poet of Ireland, Fiachna, son of Boetán was inviting him to him to make verse for him, for Fiachna was king of Ulaid and Eochu was of the Ulaid. ‘I should avoid thy presence,’ said Eochu, ‘more than that of any of the kings of Ireland, for thou hast a young son, Mongán, son of Fiachna. He is the most learned youth in Ireland, he will be relating tales and giving instruction, evil people will set him to contradict me, I shall curse him and thou wilt quarrel with me on that account.’ ‘Nay,’ said Fiachna, ‘I shall speak to (?) my son that he contradict thee not, it is he will be the most civil towards thee in this household.’ ‘Well,’ said Eochu, ‘it shall be done. Let it be thus until the end of a year.’

One day he was relating lore. ‘Evil of thee, Mongán,’ said the boys, ‘that thou dost not challenge the lying clown.’ ‘Good,’ said Mongán.

Fiachna went on a royal visitation, accompanied by Eochu. One day on their journey they beheld six large pillar-stones before them, and four, young clerics by the stones. ‘What do you here, clerics?’ said Fiachna. ‘We are here seeking knowledge and instruction. God has brought to us, however, the king-poet of Ireland, Eochu, to reveal who planted these stones and how (?) they were arranged (?).‘ ‘Well,’ said Eochu, 'I do not remember all that. I should think the Children of Deda upreared them, to build the City of Cú Roí,’ ‘Well, Eochu,’ said one of them, ‘the young clerics say thou art astray (?).’ ‘Do not blame him,’ said another. ‘Perhaps he does not know,’ said his companion. ‘He does not know,’ said another. ‘Well,’ said Eochu, ‘and you, what is your explanation of them?’ ‘This, then, is our information—these are three stones of a champion-band and three stones of a warrior-band. Conall Cernach placed them, along with Illand, son of Fergus, who slew three here in his first prowess. He was unable to uprear the pillars on account of his youth, and Conall Cernach raised them with him, for it was the custom of the Ulaid, wherever they performed their first act of valour, to raise pillar-stones to the number that they slew,—and be off, Eochu, with thy ignorance.’ ‘Do not be ashamed, Eochu,’ said Fiachna, ‘the scholars are a match (?) for thee.’ They proceed on their way as before, and they perceived a large limewashed castle in front of them, and four youths in purple raiment before the door. Eochu approached the enclosure. ‘Well,’ said Fiachna, ‘what do you want?’ ‘We want to hear from Eochu what castle this is, and who lived in it.’ ‘So many build castles,’ said Eochu, ‘that they do not all find room in the memory.’ ‘Let be,’ said the other, ‘for he does not know.’ ‘What is your information, then?’ said Fiachna. ‘Not difficult, indeed—

a while since he was merry,
drinking mead from a green goblet—

in the garden on its lawn, and yet thou hast not remembered its name, Eochu.’ ‘Good,’ said Eochu.

Then they proceeded, and they saw another castle before them, and four youths quarrelling in front of the entrance. ‘I am right!’ ‘Thou art not right!’ ‘What are you at, boys?’ said Fiachna. ‘We are contending as to what castle this is, and by whom it was built. God has brought to us, however, a man without any ignorance to reveal it to us.’ ‘Do not shame him,’ said his companion, ‘he does not know.’ ‘What do you know about it?’ said Fiachna. ‘Not difficult, indeed—

. . . . . . (?)
for the man who dug Ráth Imgat
Imgat was the woman who named (?) it,
daughter of Buise, son of Didracht.

Ráth Imgat, then, is its name, Eochu, and it is not fortunate for thee that thou art ignorant of it.’ Then Eochu was put to shame. ‘It is all the same to thee, Eochu,’ said Fiachna, ‘thou shalt not be thought the less of.’

They go home then, and find Mongán and his following within. ‘Well,’ said Eochu, ‘thou hast done that, Mongán, I know.’ ‘Thou hast said it,’ said Mongán. ‘It shall not profit thee, then,’ said Eochu, ‘I shall leave a reproach on thee in return for it. The great sport thou hast made for thyself thou shalt be without sport in consequence of it. Thou shalt have no issue save horseboys, and thou shalt not leave any great inheritance (?), neither shall . . (?).

Thus was Mongán, son of Fiachna, deprived of noble issue.


Knott, Eleanor. "Why Mongan Was Deprived of Noble Issue". Eriu.